Carolina-Style Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

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Good pulled pork is darn near a religious experience in the American South.  To make truly authentic pulled pork you need a smoker and lots and lots of time.  Not to worry if you can’t be bothered to tend a smoker or you can’t have one where you live, there is an easy solution.  All you need is a slow cooker or a large oven safe pot with a lid.  If you have neither of these and you are desperate for a taste of pork heaven, you can always cook it in large baking dish tightly covered with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

The rub recipe is an all-purpose one that I also use on chicken.  Feel free to substitute your favorite rub.  I am by no means an expert on Carolina-style barbeque sauce so I found a recipe by Tyler Florence on the Food Network’s website which garnered good reviews.  The sauce is very tangy with a spicy, mustardy taste.  It is completely different from the ketchup based barbeque sauces that are more popular elsewhere in the U.S.  I found it to be a great accompaniment to the pork and more that a little addictive.

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Slow Cooker Greens and Beans Soup

October is a glorious month on the Gulf Coast.  The oppressive humidity of summer is gone along with the threat of any big hurricanes.  The weather is still warm during the day and cools off nicely in the evening.  For me this is enough reason to start breaking out the soup recipes.  This is one of my husband’s favorite soups and he affectionately refers to it as “Lawnmower Soup”.

This recipe was given to me by my hairstylist, Beth.  A couple of years ago I was getting my hair cut and bemoaning the fact that I had no idea what to cook for dinner that night.  She suggested this soup using canned, seasoned greens and cooked on the stove-top.  I have made it that way numerous times, however, I really prefer to use the frozen collard greens.  This gives me the ability to season the soup the way I like it and to better control the salt content.  In addition, the texture of the cooked, frozen collard greens is much more to my liking.  This is a super easy meal to put together and is made healthier with turkey kielbasa, but if you prefer the pork kielbasa feel free to use it.  You could also substitute a small ham hock for the bacon.  Serve with cornbread for a complete meal.

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Slow Cooker Beef and Bean Chili with Beer

Chili.  The word alone makes my mouth water.  We love it in all forms, with or without beans, with chunks of beef or ground beef, white chicken chili, meatless, stove cooked, slow cooker style, etc.  Really, the possibilities are endless.  This will undoubtedly be the first of many chili recipes I will post.  Although I indicated in the title that this chili is for the slow cooker, you can easily make it on the stove in a 5-6 quart pot, just let it simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours.  Beer is not something I use often in chili and I was really pleased with the results.  It turned out that the beer was not overpowering in this recipe and gave the chili a bit of a malty background flavor.  Since the recipe only calls for 1 cup there is a nice big swig (or two) left over for the chef.  The heat level of this chili is easily controlled with spices and if you don’t like much heat at all you can substitute with mild Ro-Tel or canned diced tomatoes.  I used Penzeys regular chili powder which made my batch flavorful but not too spicy.   If you want more heat, feel free to add anywhere from 1/4 – 1 teaspoon of cayenne or ground chipotle pepper or load up on the sliced, pickled jalapeños.  You are the boss of your chili so make it as spicy as you like it.  Enjoy! Continue reading

Slow Cooker Collard Greens

Collard GreensCollard greens are a true Southern favorite.  This recipe calls for 4 bunches of greens which looks like you are buying a farm.  However, once they are trimmed, cut and wilted down they easily fit into a 6 quart slow cooker.  Collard greens are tough and take a long time to cook which makes the slow cooker an ideal way to make them melt in your mouth delicious.  Don’t be scared off by the pound of bacon, either.  Rendering the fat out of the bacon before adding it to the slow cooker preserves the flavor and keeps the greens from being greasy.  Substitutions that can be made include turnip or mustard greens for the collards and a ham bone or 2 ham hocks for the bacon.

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